Austin Ogunye’s penalty one minute into added time helped Lobi Stars claim a 2-1 victory over Dakkada FC at the Aper Aku Stadium on Sunday.
Dakkada looked to be on course to continue their unbeaten run in the 2020/21 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL), after Christian Ekong’s 71st-minute header had cancelled out a first-half goal from Samuel Mathias.
But then Arinze Obuka clipped Chinonso Okonkwo’s heels in injury time to give Ogunye the chance to hand the Pride of Benue three points from the penalty spot – an opportunity he took with great calmness.
The homers almost took the lead in the 3rd minute, when Okonkwo fired wide from close range much to the relief of goalkeeper Thomas Omokhudu.
Ekong conjured Dakkada’s first attempt on goal in the 10th minute, but his effort was blocked by Osimaga Duke.
Ossy Martins came close with a header that was deflected wide at the other end.
Stars went ahead in the 15th minute. Samuel Mathias’ brilliant free kick from 21 yards flew past goalkeeper Thomas Omokhudu.
Martins then failed to connect to Thomas Zenke’s romantic cross. It was an unpardonable miss.
Dakkada FC skipper Aniekan Ekpe whipped a venomous free kick which went inches wide.
The hosts were dealt a crushing blow when Adeleye Aniyikaye copped a muscle strain and was replaced by Alex Aghahowa in the 33rd minute.
Thomas Omokhudu had to make an adept save to keep out Martins’ skimming shot, but Stars were deserving of their half-time lead.
Mathias was unlucky not to double the lead early in the second half, when he saw his driven shot saved by Thomas Omokhudu.
Okonkwo should have registered his name on the scoresheet but he couldn’t direct the ball beyond helpless Omokhudu.
It was Ekong who was on hand to head Dakkada level in the 71st minute as he attacked a cross from Ubong Williams to head home.
Lobi Stars almost restored their lead but saw Ebube Duru fire wide after a goal mouth scramble.
Okonkwo also flashed another decent effort wide and Ekong should have put the visitors in front.
Thomas Omokhudu pulled off an outstanding save to deny Martins as Lobi Stars pushed hard for a second goal.
Stars had looked the more likely to snatch the win and they had the chance to grab it after Obuka clipped the hills of Okonwko in the box.
Substitute Ogenyi picked up the ball and sent the impressive Thomas Omokhudu the wrong way with ease.